Seriously. The “What Not to Wear” Gods are smiling down on me in 2010! Last month I got to meet Stacy London and yesterday I got to chat with Clinton Kelly on the phone (an in-person interview will follow when he comes to town on May 15 *pinching myself*).
The reason for my chat with Mr. Kelly? Well, he’s part of the “Macy’s and Clinton Kelly Make Over America Tour” that’s providing makeovers to 96 women across America – 12 women in eight cities, including Cincinnati.
Clinton says he chose the women based on their story, but also made his selection to represent a diverse group of what he calls “real women.” The winners he selected come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors and types, hair colors and textures. He says he purposefully chose such a wide spectrum of winners because wanted viewers to be able to relate to at least one of the winners.
This tour will mark the fifth year Clinton has worked with Macy’s on a fashion show campaign across America (Click here to see pictures from his visit to Cincinnati in 2008).
When Clinton first started working with Macy’s, he worked with your typical model type (aka the skinny bitches we all hate – haha!). Then he began to incorporate plus size models into his shows. At the end of last year, he talked with Macy’s about how great it would be to feature real women on stage instead of models. They loved the idea and decided to run with it!
Clinton said Macy’s has been a great partner in executing this idea (he did admit though that it’s been a bit of a logistical nightmare to pull off, but they’re dealing with it well). They had tons of applicants and they finally narrowed it down to the 12 lucky winners in the eight selected cities (Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Albany, St. Louis, Seattle, Cincinnati, Houston and Raleigh). He and these 12 self-proclaimed style-starved Cincinnati girls will be strutting their stuff at a fashion show at Macy’s Kenwood Towne Centre on Saturday, May 15 at 2pm.
And because Cincinnati’s a big small town you’ll probably know one of the girls who will be rocking the runway. If so some out to support her, see her new look and meet Clinton Kelly! Here are the Cincinnati area Make Over America winners (and pictured in the below slideshow):
· Tiffany Anderson from Seven Mile, OH
· Michelle Burgio from Hamilton, OH
· Danielle Cain from Cincinnati, OH
· Shannon Crutchfield from Cincinnati, OH
· Jennifer Gerike from Cincinnati, OH
· Sarah Godfrey from Cincinnati, OH
· Alexandra Hoog from Bethel, OH
· Heather McDonough from Monroe, OH
· Michelle Miller from Springfield, OH
· Kim Poynter from Batavia, OH
· Molly Rogers from Cincinnati, OH
· Lisa Ross from Burlington, KY
I did a little Q&A interview with Clinton, which you can check out below. Like I said, when he comes to Cincinnati I’ll get some one on one time and I’ll catch it all on video for you. Post in the comment section below what you’d like me to ask him when I meet him on May 15! Until then, enjoy this Q&A about the Make Over America campaign he’s coming into town for!
Amy: The press release says you’re going to help these women reinvent themselves from head to toe. Tell me about that. “Reinvent” sounds like so much more than just a surface makeover.
Clinton: I made over 225 women last year. I’ve done it enough to know that it’s not just a surface makeover. These women have written me the most wonderful letters and they’ve posted on the Facebook fan page that it’s changed their lives. So, what I’m doing is giving a surface makeover, but quite frankly it does go a little deeper than that.”
Amy: I knew a few models who were involved in one of the last events you did with Macys in Cincinnati. One in particular said you were meticulous and paid attention to every last detail before the models walked out on the runway. That was really powerful to hear because I think we sometimes see a spokesperson as a talking head who isn’t very involved. Tell me about your involvement in this campaign and level of work you put into these makeovers and this tour.
Clinton: I don’t just settle for okay. I settle for fabulous. That’s my goal: To make every woman look as fabulous as she can.
When you’re working with real women, it’s very different than working with models in that models get paid to wear what you tell them to wear. So, if they don’t like it, tough. They have to wear it anyway. Real women have opinions. I tell the real women “It’s important you like what I put you in, because if you don’t have that confidence on the runway you’re not going to impress anyone.”
Half the style is the confidence in what you’re wearing. So, if you feel uncomfortable, everyone else is going to feel that. I make sure that there’s a dialog between me and the real women. I call it a co-creation because it’s not me doing all the work and it’s not them doing all the work. It’s a real back and forth. Some women say, “I can’t wear heels,” so I work around that. Or they say, “I really don’t like my legs,” so I say ok that’s fine too.
I don’t do this for my ego. Don’t get me wrong my ego isn’t completely out of the equation. But, for the most part, I do this because I enjoy showing women they can be beautiful despite what they may think.
Amy: Sounds like you’re teaching these women some pretty valuable tools to spruce up their style. Can you share some of your best secrets that my readers can easily apply?
Clinton: Unfortunately there is a definite “Mom uniform.” It’s the cross training sneakers, light wash jeans, topped with a t-shirt, topped with a hoody. I think it’s a shame because they’ll never feel pretty in those four pieces. But there are four very easy alternatives.
Non athletic sneaker, boots or flats.
Dark wash jean with a straight leg that goes straight from the hip to the ground. Boom! Much more polished. Much more elongating on the leg. It takes the same amount of time to put on a bad pair of jeans as it does a good pair.
Instead of a t-shirt, do a blouse. Women think blouses are fancy. They are not fancy, they’re just shirts made for women.
And the hoody or sweatshirt, they do nothing for your body. You need to upgrade that to a jacket. It doesn’t need to be a suit jacket. It can be a cotton jacket or a denim jacket. It creates an hourglass shape even if you don’t have one.
These are four ways every woman can do today to completely reinvent her casual style.
Check out the video below of the Make Over America 2010 preview!